The day before Yom Kippur is a yom tov, a festive day; for although we stand prepared to be judged in the supernal courtroom for our deeds of the passed year, we are confident that G‑d is a merciful judge, and will decree a year of life, health and prosperity for us.

It is a mitzvah to eat and drink in abundance, more than one is normally accustomed to, on the eve of Yom Kippur. The Talmud states that "Whoever eats and drinks on the 9th [of Tishrei], it is regarded as if he had fasted on both the 9th and the 10th."

Two meals are eaten, one in the morning or early afternoon, and one, the "separation meal," just prior to the onset of Yom Kippur. These meals are festive affairs, and we dip the challah in honey.

Throughout the day, one should eat only light foods that are easy to digest, such as fish and poultry. (In the final meal before the fast, we avoid eating fish too.)

In many communities it is customary to eat kreplach – small squares of rolled pasta dough filled with ground meat1 and folded into triangles – on the day before Yom Kippur. They can be boiled and served in soup (that's the traditional method) or fried and served as a side dish. The meat symbolizes severity, the dough is an allusion to kindness. In preparation for the Day of Judgment we "cover" the severity with kindness. (Click here for a recipe.)